Dr. Chris Lee
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Talking to My Inner Child: Healing Guilt ...

Talking to My Inner Child: Healing Guilt, Shame and Regret with Science

Mar 22, 2021

2021 UPDATE: this is a practice I continue to use when I recognize challenges in creativity or blocks in how I move myself forward. My hope is that it will also enlighten your pathway with science and build your belief that you can change/transform your own life.

Today’s my birthday.

Ever since I can remember, my birthday has been weird; I always get these weird feelings. Since becoming an adult, I’ve isolated myself on my birthday 5 years straight of isolation on a day of celebration.

This year was no different either; as I write, I sit alone in a Coffee shop in Denver hundreds of miles away from family, my daughter, and my loved ones.

Last night I decided to do something about it.

Asking the Hard Questions

“never go to sleep without requesting something from your subconscious mind” — Thomas Edison.

Last night I sat in my nightly reflection meditation, and those familiar feelings of shame, guilt, and insecurity that I’ve always associated with my birthday came up.

For those of you that don’t know, I wear a Biostrap and measure my biology so I can make improvements because I know that my brain will lie to me to keep me safe, but data won’t.

The instant those feelings came up, my HRV (heart rate variability) dropped to nearly zero. This means my nervous system thought I was about to die and was doing everything short of defecating to ensure survival.

I start to sweat, my heart rate sky-rocketed, my palms got sweaty, and I jump out of meditation. Upset, frustrated, confused, and motivated for answers.

As I lay in bed doing ujjayi breath control, the solution hit me like a truck.

We know the brain has this natural default setting of “survive” and that the survival brain does one thing incredibly well.

Take the current circumstances and environment, compare it with our emotional history(our memories) to predict the future.

That was precisely what my brain was doing at this exact moment. It was taking the impending doom of another birthday, comparing it with some kind of emotional history in the past to create this anxiety I had been feeling for years about my birthday.

Laying in bed, I set the intention for my brain to show me the memories that had created these emotions I was experiencing and project them into my dreams.

Simply creating the intention, I began to feel better; I knew I was on the right track.

1st Grade and Popsicles

Photo by Donald Tong from Pexels

“ Ask, and you shall receive” — Matthew in THE BIBLE

Last night was a rough night; it turns out when you give a supercomputer like a brain a binary code command, it searches the entire history and then delivers the goods.

A lot came up, all kinds of embarrassing moments from my childhood came flooding into my memory.

I got up at 6am crying, which turning into laughing because that was exactly what I had asked for.

Great, so these memories were pulled from my emotional subconscious brain now; it was time to do something about that.

Kids in Court

From the age of 3 until we hit puberty, our emotional centers of the brain are lit up like a Christmas tree, that’s because we in the process of creating “Laws for Life.”

Research shows that as children when we are faced with highly charged emotional events, we create a biased towards that experience. For the rest of our lives, when the circumstances recreate that environmental trigger, our brain runs the program we created and ta-da we have paradigms or laws that we live our entire lives through.

Here’s the issue, that childhood programming that we are still using was created with a brain that wasn’t fully formed.

Specifically, we lacked development in an area of the brain called the frontal lobe, which does a really important function, creates logic and reason.

Photo From Medical News Today

Anyone seeing the issue.

We literally created Laws for our Existence with the power of logic. Which makes us have this super weird bias towards certain things. Like, oh I don’t know birthdays… (light bulb)

The memory that stuck to the surface after my night of reliving young Chris was when in the first grade. I have a summer birthday, so I never got to celebrate with all my classmates. So being the super cool mom that she is, my sweet mother got popsicles for me to take in so we could celebrate my birthday in September.

Only we didn’t.

After lunch, the popsicles had arrived for all my classmates to do some birthday celebration, but instead of getting some birthday love, the popsicles were seen as just a gift for the class on a hot day from a random parent.

I had been so excited to be celebrated and enjoy this moment that when it was completely ignored, all these emotions flooded my system with guilt, shame, and insecurity about my birthday.

I was 6 when this happened.

Literally 20 years to the date it surfaced. I created a law at that moment that whenever I was to be celebrated that I would run a program of not deserving it for the shame of wanting to be celebrated and everything else that followed. Not logical in the slightest, not serving to my highest good, but in my childlike brain, it made total sense.

The good news? It surfaced in a time in my life where I kindly refer to myself as a Jedi Knight Ninja of the Mind.

Image From Snapwire

Let the Healing Begin

The lack of strategy is what keeps these memories alive and those paradigms strong. It maintains those neural circuits because of Hebbs Law; the more you use something, the stronger, the more myelinated it becomes, faster stronger. For 20 years, I’ve been making some really serious neural pathways.

The fascinating fact about memories is that when we revisit them, we relive those memories as if they are still happening in the present moment. Our brain lights up as it is happening right now. PTSD functions in this fashion; we have a challenging memory that doesn’t have the strategy, brain-width (bandwidth + brainpower) to integrate those experiences.

(Enter stage right) Meditation

Meditation has a lot of really incredible research coming out around it, and it’s one of the few fields where the research being done in the last decade is literally growing at an exponential rate.

The section of it we are going to focus on today is about brain waves.

Our natural memories tend to maintain a focus on the negative because that bias keeps us alive. That negative bias creates a brain wave pattern of high beta, which causes disorganization and chaos in the brain. Not exactly a functional state of healing.

What meditation does really well is to drop you from that really busy, scared, survival brain state and place you into a coherent alpha brain wave state? Where the two hemispheres of the brain can focus on the present moment being instead of constantly searching for the next thing that could kill us.

Inside this brain state, you begin to activate that frontal lobe, and instead of reliving memories as if they are happening again, we can look with an outside perspective.

This is exactly what I did to connect with my inner child. I took it to the next level and incorporated visualization, which will stimulate a new level of consciousness called theta wave.

Inside of theta, we begin to communicate with the subconscious mind, and we can take both the new perspective, logic, and reason to begin to see those memories as something new.

Walking with 6-year-old Chris

Image from Pexels

This is the realness of this process. The brain inside of visualization cannot distinguish reality from visualization, which is why it is such a powerful tool to have.

I got up and got to work. What follows is my personal process for this memory.

I sat down and set an intention for deeper clarity from these memories, then began to breathe.

After a few moments, I transported myself to the old memory. To relive it as the child that was hurt so many years ago. I could feel the desk I sat at and the excitement as the popsicles were delivered. I allowed all the memories and emotions to flood in. I sit in my 26-year-old self, crying for a younger version of myself.

After the memory was complete, I needed to reorganize my memory, and step one is to structure the chaotic brain waves. So began a simple 10-minute square breathing protocol, listening to a live feed of my HRV thanks to Heartmath’s Inner balance.

Once I had gained coherence, I jumped into a visualization.

“I’m in the hallway of the school holding the hand of my younger self. I look down at him and smile, and I tell him who I am and what we are going to do together. He holds my hand tighter and nods.”

“We walk into the room together where another version of us sits in anticipation of the popsicles to be delivered. I talk to him, let him know we are watching this memory like a movie. I can feel his hands getting clammy as the door opens and the school secretary drops off the package. I kneel down with him and hold him tight in a hug, on his level.”

“The teacher makes the announcement that someone has brought us a present, it has no name with them, and she assumes it’s just from someone parent not knowing that it’s from my mom to celebrate me. We watch as those crushing words hit us, we all feel it and cry together.”

“I hug him tight, and we begin to talk; I ask if he’s ready to go, he nods, and we leave. I take us to our safe place, a soccer field. We sit in the middle of the field, and I just let him express everything he’s feeling.”

“I simply let him process because we can now reason the circumstances; I let him know that this memory is a small fraction of the beautiful life we create; we continue to talk about it.”

“We connect about how much the class really enjoyed the awesome chance to have a break on a hot summer day, to talk and laugh over the random gift. We begin to make a transition from shame and guilt into a moment of laughter, thinking about how silly it really was. (frontal lobe activated, logic and reason changing that negative polarity literally changing my neurochemistry)”

“We sit together for a long time, picking at the grass and talking. I finally ask if he feels complete; he just nods, and with a big smile, gives me a hug, high five, and walks off into the woods of our safe space.”

“I open my eyes from the workshop, with a huge smile on my face and warm tears on my cheeks.”

Was it real?

Was any of that really happening? Nope, none of it. Did my brain care? Nope.

I had the highest HRV score of my entire life, and it was maintained for 15 minutes as I just lay on the floor laughing and enjoying the newly found happiness, pride, joy, and self-love I had created.

You see, that’s the power of the mind; it has this ability to create, the natural function survives, stagnate, stresses. But we can transcend that and use that beautiful energy for greater things.

The choice to change will always come down to having the knowledge to do something than taking action.

I hope with this message you remember how powerful you are.

“happy birthday, younger Chris, it all turns out alright” — older, wiser Chris.

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